Revealed: National voters prefer Judith Collins to Simon Bridges

Judith Collins isn't ruling out another tilt at the National Party leadership, telling Newshub she doesn't "rule out anything".

The Papakura MP is polling higher than Simon Bridges as preferred Prime Minister in the Newshub-Reid Research poll, and even National voters think she's the better person for the job.

She says she's but a humble servant to her caucus.

"My role is just to do whatever the caucus needs me to do," she told Newshub. "My view is I'm just doing my job."

But she refused to rule out a leadership challenge, saying instead: "I'm very clearly not ruling out anything."

When asked how many of her colleagues had asked her to be leader, she said they "discuss all sort of things".

But they're not alone - voters are also discussing her. Poll results indicated just 13.4 percent of people believe Mr Bridges should lead the National party. Ms Collins topped him on 17.3 percent.

Paula Bennett was next on 6.2 percent - she denies leadership ambitions, as does former leadership hopeful Amy Adams.

"I think Simon's doing a great job," she said.

The National leadership is decided by its MPs. Newshub asked a few of them what they thought about Ms Collins in that role.

"Simon is our leader," said David Bennett, MP for Hamilton East.

"I'm happy with Simon, I'd be happy with Judith," said Northland's Matt King.

"You either love her or you hate her," was East Coast MP Anne Tolley's verdict.

"There's a number of people who would make a good leader, we'll just see," said list MP Nuk Korako.

"Simon's doing a great job at the moment," said Tim van de Molen, MP for Waikato.

"I don't think it's up for consideration at the moment," said Ilam MP Gerry Brownlee.

There were "ums and "ahs" as well as a lot of "at the moment" and "we'll see" - far from an emphatic vote of confidence.

Mr Bridges told Newshub he's not concerned about the caucus' possible support for Ms Collins' leadership - but perhaps he should be.

She said it's "not for her to say" just how much support she has, but didn't deny that she'd been approached.

"You'd have to ask other people," was her response to what kind of leader she'd be.

National voters rate her over Mr Bridges. Just 19.6 percent want him as leader, while she's far more popular on 27.1 percent. 

Newshub asked Mr Bridges if Ms Collins should rule out being leader. His response?

"You can talk to Judith."

She's clear she won't rule it out.

It's a little like David Cunliffe in 2012 refusing to rule out a challenge to the Labour leadership, for which he was then exiled to the backbenches.

Mr Cunliffe himself was at Parliament on Tuesday - could it be a sign?

"I can absolutely promise I have no intention of coming back," he told Newshub, clarifying that he has no desire for the National leadership either.

It's one less person for Mr Bridges to worry about.

Ms Collins said she's "not intending to do anything like" announce a leadership bid, but we'll have to wait and see.


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